Pay per click (PPC) advertising seems like a guaranteed win. You only pay for the traffic you actually generate, so it’s practically impossible to waste money, right?
On some level, this logic is sound. Other marketing and advertising strategies from the risk of exhausting your resources without lending any value to your business. But at the same time, this philosophy lulls you into and unearned sense of complacency. At best, you’ll miss out on your true potential by following this idea and allowing your campaigns to stagnate. At worst, you’ll end up spending much more money then you generate.
The best hope for your PPC campaign and the future of your business is to remain as adaptable as possible. That means updating your campaign regularly, striving to learn new information on a frequent basis, studying new competitors as they emerge, and being willing to experiment with approaches you may not have originally considered.
But why is adaptability so important and what steps can you take to make your company more adaptable on the PPC front?
The Value of PPC Advertising
Let’s start with a brief explanation of why PPC advertising is valuable in the first place. In case you aren’t familiar, PPC advertising is any form of advertising online that charges you in specific amount of money for each click the link or advertisement generates. There are many channels and tools you can use for PPC advertising, with two of the most popular choices being Google and Facebook, due to their wide reach and broad appeal.
Oftentimes, you’ll be able to completely customize your PPC campaign from within an administrative portal provided by your platform of choice. For example, you’ll be able to control things like your total budget, your bidding strategy, the content of your ads, your target audience, and more. You’ll also be able to access all relevant metrics for your campaign, allowing you to track your performance and how it changes over time.
Pressure to Adapt
Where does the pressure to adapt come from?
In a stagnant and unchanging system, you can develop one fixed strategy and pursue it until the end of time. But in the PPC world, failing to adapt can have some serious consequences.
There are several reasons for this.
- Quality score. Google, and presumably all other PPC platforms, keep track of the performance of your advertisements and the relevance of those advertisements to your target audience. Complicated algorithms use these data points to come up with an overall “quality score” that describes your brand and your account. Having a better quality score in views you with several advantages, such as improving the placement of your ads or providing you with bidding advantages. Because it’s not exactly clear which metrics are most important for calculating quality score, it’s going to require a bit of experimentation and flexibility. You’re going to need to try out a wide range of different types of ads to see how they perform and adjust your tactics so that your quality score can continue rising.
- Competition. Already, there are probably dozens of different businesses competing with you in the PPC advertising space. They’re driving up the cost of each advertisement and are stepping on your toes in the search engine results pages you’re targeting. But this competitive landscape is not static; your top competitors are probably watching you and updating their tactics so they can better counter yours. If you want to hold your ground, and continue maximizing your results, you need to update your strategy as well. Existing businesses aren’t the only threat, either. Digital businesses can start up quickly, changing your competitive landscape overnight. If you’re not watching carefully, or if you’re not prepared to pivot, they could completely take you over.
- Market changes. Your market may be changing as well. When was the last time you conducted a customer survey? Are you certain your target audiences attitudes haven’t changed in the slightest since the first time you started studying them? Are you target demographics aging where do you have a new generation to cater to? Even over short timescales, these changes can add up quickly, compromising the value of your initial advertising strategy unless you find a way to adapt.
- New platforms. Google and Facebook may be the most popular PPC advertising platforms, but they’re certainly not the only ones, and the landscape of available PPC advertising platforms is always changing. Occasionally dabbling in new platforms is a great way to expand your perspective, and it could be exactly what you need to get a competitive advantage with a niche target audience that can’t be found as easily using conventional methods.
- New features. Google has a robust advertising platform that stands as one of the best in the industry, if not the best. But it only got there because Google is committed to continuously rolling out new updates, features, and core improvements with its platform. If you’re going to take full advantage of these new features, you need to be aware that they exist and you need to be open-minded enough to give them a try.
- New technologies. Similarly, your PPC environment could change in a matter of months with the rollout and adoption of some new type of technology. Smart phones, smart speakers, and the Internet of Things overall have fundamentally changed the way that people interact with online content. It’s only a matter of time before some even more disruptive technology shakes things up.
- General experimentation and learning. Adaptability is a prerequisite for experimentation, and the best PPC campaigns are built on ongoing experimentation. Even if you feel you know your target audience well, there’s no way to accurately predict the performance of your advertisements until you test them in a live environment.
How to Remain Adaptable in PPC Advertising
If you want to get the most out of your PPC advertising campaign, you need to stay as adaptable as possible. These are some of the best ways that you can do it:
- Work with experts. Collaborate with experts whenever possible. Whether you hire a PPC advertising agency to manage your entire campaign or you just occasionally hiring consultant to help you figure some things out, you’ll be getting new perspective and hearing about the latest developments. This is also a great way to break out of your own echo chamber and get exposed do different ideas.
- Don’t overcommit. Never overcommit to any one strategy or type of advertisement. When you find something that works, your intuition may guide you to stick with it the way it is as long as possible. But if you want to reach your true potential, you have to keep challenging yourself and pushing beyond that limit.
- Try new things constantly. There are always new things to try in the world of PPC advertising, such as new features in your favorite platform, new target audiences to reach, and more.
- Follow the data. Don’t allow yourself to be a slave to your intuitions and biases. Instead, rely on objective data when making PPC-related decisions whenever possible. If you’re willing to change your mind when the data proves you wrong, you’re better off than most.
- Enlist the help of other strategies. Digital marketing works best when it’s coordinated with a variety of other marketing and advertising strategies, such as link building, SEO, and social media marketing. Don’t neglect the power and assistance of these alternative channels.
Being successful in PPC advertising does require a change in your mentality, at least at first. As you grow accustomed to the ebb and flow of PPC ads and as you learn more about your competitive environment, you’ll naturally become more comfortable and familiar with experimentation and adaptability. Once it’s ingrained in you, there’s no going back – and you’ll be equipped with the experience and perspective you need to be successful in this area.